Vivienne Groves, PhD ’15: Seeking Out Shared Visions

The best collaborations combine mutual respect for economic research, creative thinking, and laughter.

April 12, 2014

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Vivienne Groves, PhD ’15

This series features our students’ reflections on their aspirations, learnings, challenges, and joys. Here, Vivienne talks about the working relationships she’s developed at Stanford GSB, and how research styles and gender differences matter.

Finding a co-author who I click with can be more important than finding the right research niche. What matters most when I seek a new research topic is not so much the area of study as finding someone with a similar vision to mine with whom I can collaborate. The 1-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio of the PhD program at Stanford GSB makes finding faculty and students with whom to work on projects an easy and enjoyable experience.

Since ideas in research can be abstract, with few tangible outcomes, my motivation comes from the dream that one day my research might contribute to major policy reform. I look for advisers and co-authors who see the same value in economic research as I do, and who strive to make a positive impact with their knowledge.

Yet finding colleagues whose research style complements mine is equally important. Readiness to question ideas, make mistakes, think creatively, and, importantly, laugh along the way are essential.

The sharing of ideas, giving and receiving constructive feedback, and building working relationships can be different for men and women. Since women tend to be outnumbered by men in many of the academic groups at business schools, we have set up regular lunches between female faculty members and PhD students. These intimate meetings have enabled us to learn from the experiences of our female faculty members.

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